Monday, December 31, 2007

Becoming A People of Purpose

As we see 2007 in the rearview mirror and embark on a brand new year, the Lord allowed me to look not in retrospect as to where we are in 2007, but rather take a futuristic look at where the Lord desires us to be. So we took a lnew look at a familiar story housed in Mark 4:35-40 where Jesus was in the boat with his disciples as they encountered a storm of hurricane-like proportions while they were on the Sea of Galilee. For Jesus was teaching the multitudes about the Kingdom of God with a method known as a parable, which is nothing but a ficitious story with a spiritual meaning. Jesus weary from his day of teaching, listened as his disciples wanted to go do their own thing, but Jesus knew they had a greater purpose in this life, and their purpose was found in chapter 5 and beyond.

In Mark 5, Jesus knew that the disciples had to minister to a demon-possessed man in a cemetary, Jairus' sick daughter and the woman with an issue of blood. This suggests to us that our purpose in this life is to minister to the hurting, the despondant and the depressessed . Our purpose and destiny is tied into our ministering to this world as we embark on the next world. Here is the sermon outline.

Thesis: when your lifetime purpose outweighs your immediate desires, you will become a people of destiny

I. Go Wherever Jesus Tells You to Go
-verse 35

II. Take Jesus With You
-verses 36

a. Unlimited Reach - verse 36...and other boats were with him
b. Unlikely Rest - verse 37-38...a great storm arose...Jesus was asleep on a pillow
c. Unusual Request - verse 38...master carest thou not if we perish

III. Have Enough Faith That Jesus is Always in Control
.verse 39-40

Monday, December 24, 2007

Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Yesterday I was fortunate to preach at my home church, The New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, NJ at their 8 AM Worship Service because my Pastor, Joe A. Carter is dealing with a serious bout of stress and anxiety attacks that have left him absent from the pulpit for the last couple of months and he wanted me to cover for him at a few services. I was honored at the invitation and didn't have to think twice about standing up to deliver my convictions about the coming of the Messiah to both New Hope and the First Mount Zion congregations. I concluded my series on three prophecies of the coming king found in the book of Isaiah with an exposition out of Isaiah 11:10 entitled Calm in the Midst of Chaos. The first 10 chapters of Isaiah deals with God's judgment on Judah for their sinfulness and rebellion against God. He allowed their enemy the Assyrians to discipline Judah but they desired to destroy them, this caused God to bring judgment not only to Judah but also to Assyria. In all of this war and destruction going on, chaos ruled all over the land, and Judah, a once great place was now a mere shell of what they were. But God tells them through Isaiah that he will allow them to rise out of the ashes to become a great people once again, through the sending of his promised Messiah who will bring calm in the midst of chaos. Here is the sermon outline:

Thesis: when our world is filled with the chaotic, this prophecy proves to us that Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to bring into our lives the peace that we need.

I. Supremacy of His Lineage

-verse that day the root of Jesse
-Jesse's lineage is royal because of his son David
a. Earthly Presence - Jesus is known as the Son of David
b. Eternal Past - in eternity past Jesus sat at the right hand of the Father who sat on the throne
c. Eschatalogical Position - this Prophecy refers not only to Jesus' first coming but also his second coming during the 1000 Millenial Rule found in Revelation 20

II. Standard of His Lifestyle
-verse 10...shall stand as a signal for his people...of him shall the nations inquire
-Jesus is the standard bearer by which all actions shall be held up against
a. Assemble the Righteous - stand as a signal for his people
b. Attract the Unrighteous - of shall the nations inquire

III. Splendor of His Legacy
-verse 10...and his resting place shall be glorious
-the resting place of Jesus is within his church

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Coming of the Messiah

We began a quick 3 sermon series on 3 prophecies of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ that were recorded in that great prophetical book of Isaiah, which I tagged the series the Coming of the Messiah. The first such prophecy that we looked at today was an exposition on chapter 7, verse 14 which says therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. For the people of Judah was in a terrible crisis. The king of Aram and the king of Ephraim had joined forces to wage war against Jerusalem. God sent the prophet Isaiah to bring a word of deliverence to the wicked king of Judah named Ahaz. The word was to trust that the Lord will give you what you need to make it through this crisis situation, but Ahaz refused to trust in God. God sent a word of prophecy that he will provide for Judah a vessel to deliver his people from their sins. I thank God that in this season called Christmas, we can truly understand that Jesus was not born to provide us gifts under a tree, songs sung in the streets, snowflakes on the ground, but that he came to save us and deliver us in times of crisis. Here is the sermon outline:

Title: The Necessity of the Virgin Birth

Thesis: in times of a great crisis, God offers his people a great hope with a great prophecy that their sufficient savior is on the way

I. Promise of God's Prophecy

-verse 14...therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign

II. Power of God's Prophecy

-verse 14...behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son

III. Presence of God's Prophecy

-verse 14...and they shall call his name Immanuel

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Closing Out the Series

I have had a difficult time making a post entry in the last couple of weeks, because our church is in the home stretch of selling our present building and purchasing a new building at a better location that will afford us the great opportunity of reaching a different demographic of non-Christians (more about this in a later post entry).

But the Lord allowed us to conclude the series on the I AM statements of Jesus Christ that are housed in the Gospel According to John. The final two statements are different but they were born out of the same situation.

In Chapter 13, Jesus was in the Upper Room on the night of the last supper that Jesus would have with his followers. It was at the last meal during the Passover Feast that Jesus got down on his knees to wash the feet of his disciples in order to teach them a great lesson on service and humility. It was here that Jesus told them that he would be betrayed, Peter would deny Him, and the rest of them would also reject Him.

This did damage to their incorrect idea as to who Jesus really was, for they were of Jewish origin, and the Jews believed that the Messiah would come as a political leader and warrior who would save the Jews from their enemies. Because Jesus destroyed their image of Jesus, it caused them to have troubled hearts. This word troubled means to be in a state of confusion, and because they were in a state of confusion, Jesus makes this claim in verse 1 of chapter 14, let not your heart be troubled, believe in God believe also in me. He then makes a great claim in response to the doubts of Thomas in verse 6, I AM the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me. Here is the sermon outline:

Title: Cure For A Troubled Heart

Thesis: When our world is mired in a state of confusion, our survival is based solely because of our complete trust that Jesus Christ is our exclusive access to having certainty in an uncertain world

I. Trust The Certainty of His Reconciliation - the way

II. Trust the Certainty of His Reliability - the truth

III. Trust the Certainty of His Resurrection - the life

After Jesus cures their troubled hearts, and Judas leaves to betray Him, Jesus tells his disciples let us arise and go down from here. As they were making their way towards the Mount of Olives, little did they know they were also heading towards the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus. They pass by a vineyard, which affords Jesus a classroom to teach them their role in the Kingdom of God on earth while he is no longer with them, he stoops down and picks up the branch of a grape, and he tells them in chapter 15:1, I AM the true vine, and my father is the vinedresser. Here is the sermon outline:

Title: Just Be A Branch

Thesis: We are able to be fruitful servants in the vineyard of God, because of our total confidence that Jesus Christ has offered himself to us as the source of our lives

I. Our Relationship in Him - verse 5 - I am the vine, you are the branches

II. Our Responsibility to Him - verse 5 - whoever abides in me, and I in him

III. Our Reward From Him - verse 7 - if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you

Please keep our church in your prayers as we go through this transition.